A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Nov. 9, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Nov. 9.

After 28 years as a reviled symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was opened on this date in 1989. East Germany announced free passage for its citizens through border checkpoints. The announcement followed a month that saw many East Germans flee to the West through other countries. Not only did the Wall eventually fall, so did the regime of Erich Honecker, who'd supervised the building of the Wall in 1961.

The night of Nov. 9 and into the morning hours of Nov. 10, 1938, saw mobs of Germans attacked Jewish businesses and homes throughout Germany in what became known as Kristallnacht, or Crystal Night. More than 30,000 Jews were arrested and at least 91 killed. The name comes from the smashing of glass store windows.

20 years earlier, in 1918 as World War 1 drew to a close, German Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated his throne and fled to the Netherlands. Revolt had broken out in Germany as it became clear the war was lost.

On this date in 1933, at the height of the depression, President Roosevelt set up the Civil Works Administration as an emergency agency to provide jobs for the unemployed.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was completed on this day in 1984 by the addition of the Frederick Hart statue titled "Three Servicemen."

Where were you when the lights went out? On this date in 1965, a massive power failure left more than 30 million people in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada in the dark. The experience highlighted the vulnerability of 20th century technology. In many cities hit by the electrical outage, a baby boom followed nine months later.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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